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Bangkok Bike Map

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Cyclists who are not quite brave enough for Bangkok's main streets have safer choices. A new book points the way. 

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On your bike!

A unique book colour-codes routes through Bangkok neighbourhoods to make pedaling fun – and safe

Sirinya Wattanasukchai

The gear needed for a back-street route survey RASADA PHOTIPANTON

Leaving aside the issue of the lack of bike lanes, Bangkok cyclists have a new option for enjoying the city safely. The country's first Bangkok Bike Map book hit the shelves last week.

Tailor-made for cyclists, the maps feature hidden routes – most of which are only known to locals – inside small communities throughout the capital and greater Bangkok, as well as useful stops such as bike shops and public toilets.

"The map took me into some of the alleys I had always been curious [about] when passing them in my car," said Saisiri Xoomsai.

During the three-hour trip around the backstreets from Phra Khanong to Chinatown, Saisiri and her husband found themselves riding along Khlong Saen Saep and into the "insider's route" where only pedestrians and bicycles are allowed.

"The Map should be a bible for all cyclists seeking new routes into other neighbourhoods," said Saranarat Kanjanavanit, secretary-general of the Green World Foundation at the book's launch.

Bangkok Bike Map, which took the foundation two years to compile, marks another step in eventually making the capital a bicycle-friendly city.

Sharing the main roads with motorised vehicles is always tough for cyclists. According to the Department of Land, there are currently about 7.3 million registered cars in Bangkok, but the city road-surface capacity can only accommodate 1.6 million.

Despite the limited road space, the number of cars continue to outpace the expansion of infrastructure. After the introduction of the government's first-car rebate, the number of newly registered cars hiked to 1.1 million this year, a significant jump from the previous annual average of 240,000.

"Cycling is an option to improve the traffic," said Sira Leepipatnavit, the Green World Foundation's bicycle campaigner and co-editor of Bangkok Bike Map.

Divided into 63 zones, the maps were surveyed by volunteer cyclists who each rode the backstreets of their neighbourhoods. It features links between neighbourhoods off the main roads, allowing cyclists to explore communities beyond their own.

On each map, routes are highlighted in different colours. Red is for main roads that bicycles share with all types of vehicles, yellow is for smaller roads where motorcycles also share the space, while green indicates footpaths or alleys accessible only by bicycles and pedestrians. Green routes are the best and safest for cyclists.

The Bangkok Bike Map's most interesting feature is the marking of shortcuts, with their opening hours, through public access areas such as temples, hospitals, shopping centres and parks.

Useful tips that can never be found on Google Maps, including obstacles such as small wooden bridges and advertisement boards on footpaths as well as bike shops, public toilets and petrol stations, are also indicated.

The first edition is available (in Thai) at the Green World Foundation and leading bookstores. The next edition will be published in both Thai and English.

For the full story and more photos, click here:

unique – being the only one of its kind  ซึ่งเป็นหนึ่งเดียว
colour-code – a system of marking things with different colours so that you can easily identify them
route – the roads or paths used to go from one place to another เส้นทาง
neighbourhood – a particular area of a city or town ละแวก, ย่าน
pedal – to push the pedals of a bicycle round with your feet ถีบจักรยาน
issue – a problem that needs to be considered ประเด็น
lack – to not have something needed  ขาด
bike lane – a special path or part of a road where only bicycles are allowed ทางรถจักรยาน
option – a choice; something that you can choose in a particular situation ทางเลือก
hit the shelves – (of a book, magazine, etc.) to start being sold in stores (เกี่ยวกับหนังสือ) เริ่มจำหน่าย
tailor-made – made for a particular person or purpose ที่ทำขึ้นเฉพาะสำหรับคนใดคนหนึ่ง
hidden – (of a person or thing) put or kept in a place where they/it cannot be seen or found ซ่อน, ซึ่งปิดบังอยู่
locals – people who live in a particular place ชาวบ้าน
community – the people living in one particular area ชุมชน
capital – the most important town or city of a country, usually where the central government operates from  เมืองหลวง
greater Bangkok – including the main city of Bangkok, and its surrounding area –
alley – a narrow passage behind or between buildings  ตรอก
curious – having a strong desire to know about something  อยากรู้อยากเห็น
pedestrian – a person who walks, especially in an area where vehicles go คนเดินถนน
bible – a book containing important information on a subject, that you refer to very often ตำราที่เชื่อได้, คู่มือที่เชื่อได้   
foundation – an organisation that provides money for things such as medical research or for a charity มูลนิธิ
launch – an event held to start selling a new product or service to the public  การเริ่มวางขาย
compile – to collect information from different places and arrange it in a book, report or list รวบรวม
mark – to show that something is happening เป็นเครืองแสดง
eventually – at the end of a period of time or at the end of a process ในที่สุด
gear –the special clothes or equipment that you use for a particular activity อุปกรณ์ ในการทำกิจกรรมต่างๆ
tough – difficult to do or to deal with ยาก  ยากลำบาก
currently – at this time; now ในปัจจุบัน
register – to put your name and other information on an official list in order to be allowed to do something, e.g., vote, study, stay in a hotel etc ลงทะเบียน
surface – the outside or top layer of something  ผิวหน้า, ผิวภายนอก, ด้านนอก
capacity – the total amount or number that can be handled or contained ปริมาณสูงสุดที่จะรับได้
accommodate – to provide enough space for something or someone บรรจุ
limited – not much or enough; not very great in amount or extent จำกัด
outpace – to move faster than somebody/something ไปเร็วกว่า
expansion – when something increases in size, number or importance การขยายออก
infrastructure – the set of systems within a place or organisation that affect how well it operates, for example the transport and communication systems in a country ระบบสาํธารนูปโภค
rebate – an amount of money that is taken away from the cost of something, before you pay for it, in this case a tax  ส่วนลด, เงินภาษีที่ต้องคืนให้
hike their prices – to increase their prices เพิ่ม, ขึ้น
annual – happening every year ทุกๆปีด, ประจำปี
average – an amount calculated by adding several amounts together, finding a total, and dividing the total by the number of amounts เฉลี่ย, ค่าเฉลี่ย
improve – to make better  ทำให้ดีขึ้น
campaigner – someone who tries to achieve political or social change by persuading other people or the government to do something ผู้ต่อสู้,ผู้รณรงค์,ผู้โฆษณาเผยแพร่
editor – a person who is in charge of a newspaper, magazine, the production of a book, etc, or part of one, and who decides what should be included บรรณาธิการ
zone – an area that has an important or typical feature; an area where a particular activity is allowed or not allowed พื้นที่, บริเวณ, เขต
survey – the act of examining and recording the measurements, features, etc. of an area of land การสำรวจ, การหาข้อมูล
volunteer – someone who is not paid for the work that they do อาสาสมัคร
link – a connection ความเชื่อมโยงกัน
highlight – to make something more noticeable  เน้น,ทำให้เด่น
indicate – to show แสดง
footpath – a path that is made for people to walk along ทางเดิน
accessible – that can be reached, entered, used, seen, etc  ที่สามารถเข้าได้
feature – to include someone or something as an important part ทำให้เด่น
shortcut – a quicker or shorter way of getting to a place ทางลัด
access – allowing entry to a building or place  ทำให้เข้าสู่ได้
public – open to people in general สาธารณะ
tip – a small piece of advice about something practical คำแนะนำ
obstacle – an object that you must move or go around in order to move forward อุปสรรค, สิ่งกีดขวาง
edition – the books, newspapers or magazines, etc. published at one time จำนวนพิมพ์ทั้งหมดต่อครั้ง
publish – to produce a book, magazine, CD-ROM, etc. and sell it to the public จัดพิมพ์

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